India’s top court has approved the government’s decision to pay 50 000 rupees ($674; £498) as compensation for every death due to Covid-19.
The Supreme Court’s order followed a petition by lawyers seeking compensation under India’s disaster management laws.
India has officially recorded more than 447 000 Covid-19 deaths so far.
However, experts believe that up to 10 times more people could have died in the pandemic.
They have arrived at different estimates after examining excess deaths — a measure of how many more people are dying than would be expected compared to the previous few years.
On Monday Justice MR Shah said the “next of kith and kin of the deceased person” shall be paid this compensation within a month of applying. This would be “over and above the amounts paid by the centre and state under various benevolent schemes”, he said.
The court added that the compensation should be paid within 30 days after a family submits an application.
In June, petitioners sought the court’s intervention in paying compensation to the families of Covid-19 victims.
They said since Covid-19 was “specially” notified as a disaster under India’s National Disaster Management Act, compensation should be paid to the victims.
The 2005 law was enacted for efficient management of disasters, including preparation of mitigation strategies, capacity-building and compensation for lost lives, injuries and damaged properties.
The law says monetary assistance of 400 000 rupees should be paid to family of people who have lost their lives in a disaster.
India has officially recorded more than 400 000 Covid-19 deaths so far — BBC news